Do Military Spouses Receive a Paycheck?

The military pay system can be pretty complicated, especially for a new military member. It is even more complicated for new military spouses to understand. Marrying into the military transforms your daily life, and if you haven’t been exposed to it before, it can be a culture shock. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a manual!…
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The military pay system can be pretty complicated, especially for a new military member. It is even more complicated for new military spouses to understand. Marrying into the military transforms your daily life, and if you haven’t been exposed to it before, it can be a culture shock. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a manual!

Do military spouses receive their spouse’s pay when they are deployed?

I recently received a reader e-mail from a new Army spouse regarding military pay:

I’m newly married to an Army Soldier and he is going to be deployed to Afghanistan soon. Will the Army send me a paycheck monthly or does my husband have the final say about money? And how much money will I receive and when will I receive it if I do?

Thanks, Trisha

Hello Trisha,

Congratulations on your marriage! I’m sure you are going through a big culture shock right now – adjusting to military life is never easy, especially dealing with deployments!

OK, to answer your question, military members’ paychecks are directly deposited into the military member’s account. This is required by the military – it must be directly deposited (no payments by cash or check). The Army will only send this to the account on record, and they will not automatically send you a check unless your name is also on that account.

Family separation pay. You may have heard about family separation pay from another military spouse. This is a tax free military benefit that military members with dependents receive while they are separated from their spouses due to military related duties that last 30 days or more. This benefit is to help take care of additional expenses while the military member is deployed, but he will not receive it until he returns from the deployment. Again, this money will be direct deposited into his account. It is also important to note that the money e earns while he is in Afghanistan will also be tax free because he will be serving in a tax free combat zone.

I am sure you will need access to funds while your husband is deployed, so the best thing to do is work out a financial system before he leaves – that way you will be taken care of and have access to money while he is gone, and he will have the peace of mind knowing that you aren’t left wanting.

The most important thing to do is communicate with your husband about both of your financial needs. Deployments are stressful, and you don’t want to add the stress of money on top of it.

Here are a few things you can do to ensure you have access to your husband’s military pay:

  • You can open a joint account with your husband so you have access to the funds.
  • Your husband can set up an automatic allotment that will send you a set amount of money each month from his paycheck.

It is important to note that so far as I know, there are no requirements that he set up a joint account. But he does need to ensure you are taken care of and that all his bills are paid while he is gone. You can work with him to try and set things up so that you can take care of the bills while he is gone. That will give him one less thing to worry about while he is in a stressful situation.

Where to sign up for a joint savings account:

You can sign up for a joint savings account at any local bank or credit union, or you can use an online bank such as USAA.

Setting up a joint financial system:

There are many pros and cons to setting up a joint financial system, and I encourage you to look into it. If you decide to go this route, I encourage you to communicate often about money so both of you are on the same page. Money can be stressful, and frequent communication can prevent many financial problems. Here is more information about financial planning for military families.

Best of luck to you both, and I wish him a safe return.

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  1. Shar says

    I would like to know if girlfriends and or boyfriends are privy to deployment location and or address of their deployed soldier?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Shar, Each situation is unique. Some deployment locations and addresses may be classified, even from spouses. The servicemember may or may not be allowed to share this information with loved ones, including immediate family members. So I can’t give you a one-size-fits-all answer about this situation. That said, many deployed military members may have access to email or other forms of communication. It would be best to start there. Best wishes!

  2. Julie Burdick says

    Hi, i would like to know if i can get help getting my money back by being scammed! I have receipts, but i got two individuals off of Quora and they ended up to be scammers! So is there anybody out there that is trustworthy!! Thanks

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Julie, I’m sorry to hear about this.

      You will need to file a police report, contact your bank, and contact Quora. I don’t have any advice beyond that.

      I wish you the best.

  3. Georgina R Jones says

    I am legally separated from my husband who is in active duty in Afghanistan. We have been separated for 5 years. He asked for my social security number at one point but they found my information in the system when we were separated. I just want to know is he receiving money as if we are still married and should I look into this deeper. And do I have any kind of ownership to any of that money? People have been telling that I do, but because I’ve moved on with my life I feel like I’m not owed anything. But if he is receiving money on my behalf I feel like she cheating the government and me because I’ve been on my own struggle to make ends meet.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Georgina, I can’t say for certain if he is receiving money for still legally being married or not. However, if you are still legally married and he is claiming you as a dependent, then you may still qualify for certain military dependent benefits, such as an ID card and access to medical care through TRICARE. However, if you are legally separated, I am not certain if you would be eligible for any of these benefits, and I do not know if he would be able to claim you as a dependent and receive additional funds for having you as a dependent.

      In short, it’s not possible for anyone to answer these questions via email. You can, however, contact the Human Resources or personnel office at a military installation and ask if you are still listed as a dependent in the DEERS system. If you are, then you are still technically a military dependent. If you are not in the DEERS system, then you are no longer a military dependent and it is unlikely he is receiving any benefits for being married to you.

      Best wishes.

  4. Pat Tracey says

    Thank you, Ryan. Appreciate your time. I know the general rule you speak of in reference to sensing $ to a person not personally known. In spite this, I still wish to know the 2 answers to my Q of military accounts overseas, as well as the general Q of how military personnel gets another phone should theirs be damaged during a base bombing or other mishap? It seems that our guys should have some way besides reaching back home to try and get a new phone for contacting back home. Thanks again.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Pat,

      A military member’s phone is personal property. I’m not sure if personal property would be replaced if it is damaged or destroyed during a bombing or other mishap. However, there are generally other ways to contact family members back home when deployed, such as using their personal computers, shared government computers, phone cards, calling through a base operator, a wi-fi enabled cell phone, and other means. In general, a military member should not have to get another personal phone in order to communicate back home. There should be multiple other means.

      I can confirm there are hundreds of variations of scams in which people impersonate U.S. military members and share stories of hardship and ask for money, gift cards, prepaid cards, gifts, and other valuables. In almost all cases, they want money, gifts, and other valuables sent to overseas locations and in forms that are untraceable and easily convertible to cash in their currency. These are all scams. U.S. military members would never ask strangers or people they met online to give them money or send them things. It’s not how we operate.

  5. Pat Tracey says

    I met female military personel on lineas friend who wanted pen pal. After a few wks. She said ghey were bombed in Afghanistan and her phone blown up. Could i buy her new phone and send. One she cou ln d use to acess her bank on line. I not only wss a bit suspocious but i didnt have money. She got another friend to help but now needs amazon card ti activate phone. I offered a gift card from her carrier but that wont do. Im suspicious of all of it. Seemed like a nice friendship until money was askee for. Doesnt militart help them get phones if blown up? Also i cant believe she doesnt have access to some funds to activate phone.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Pat,

      This is a scam. Never send money to someone you have never met in person and with whom you don’t already have some kind of relationship prior to meeting them online.

      Best wishes.

      • Pat Tracey says

        I met female military personel on lineas friend who wanted pen pal. After a few wks. She said ghey were bombed in Afghanistan and her phone blown up. Could i buy her new phone and send. One she cou ln d use to acess her bank on line. I not only wss a bit suspocious but i didnt have money. She got another friend to help but now needs amazon card ti activate phone. I offered a gift card from her carrier but that wont do. Im suspicious of all of it. Seemed like a nice friendship until money was askee for. Doesnt militart help them get phones if blown up? Also i cant believe she doesnt have access to some funds to activate phone.

  6. Florence Adebusuyi says

    I am in the military and I am married to my spouse who currently lives outside the country. Am I still entitled to BAH? If I am, how will that work?

  7. Jissel Hernandez says

    Hi my husband just left for training and he left with clean mind because he was told that i was going to be taken care of by the army while he is away, that i will get benefits for example supposedly the army was going to give me rent money and food money because my husband was the provider and that they are even willing to pay off vehicles for him. I am pregnant and am not able to work much longer because of my health during my pregnancy is becoming worse. Where those things true that they told him that they will be helping me whild he is gone?

  8. Isabelle says

    Is there a way to see if I am really talking w someone in the military? He wants me to receive his allowance for being deployed but after reading above messages I will not do this since he already has too much info on me and I feel foolish to have believed this smooth-talking man. I came across a website for the FBI to file a complaint but lost the web page that had other information about filing a complaint. but i will look for it again.

    I think I have been talking w a grade A scammer it sucks but guess i was ripe for the picking. Post divorce, post depression, post life upside down.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Isabelle, Thank you for comment. This is almost certainly a scam.

      The military requires each service member to maintain their own bank account with direct deposit to receive all pay and benefits.

      Anyone asking you to receive money on their behalf is trying to scam you out of your money.

      Never send money to anyone you have never met in person. These scammers are professional thieves, nothing more or less.

      The best thing to do is to permanently cut of all communication with them. Add their email address to your filters and have their emails automatically sent to the spam folder. Don’t even open or read the email. You cannot trust them.

      I wish you the best.

  9. Lyla Vasquez says

    Hello, my husband and I are getting a divorce. I was just wondering how I would be able to figure out how much extra he gets paid for being married and deployed. I know it has to do with his rank and he’s deployed right now so separation pay is included as well. Not sure if baq is included and if it is, if he’s getting paid extra while being deployed. I called Dfas and was told I need power of attorney from my husband. Is there another way I can find out how much extra he makes with everything total without going through my husband? Any info would be so helpful, thanks !

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Lyla, I’m sorry to hear about your divorce. Military pay is broken into several buckets – base pay, benefits such as BAH, BAS, etc. Family separation pay is generally only given when the members is deployed or on a temporary duty assignment for more than 30 days.

      The only way to know for certain which pay and benefits are included in your husband’s pay is to have access to his Leave and Earnings Statement (LES). As you mentioned, DFAS won’t give that information out without a Power of Attorney. This is due to privacy reasons and I am not aware of exceptions.

      The best thing to do is try to work this out together. Many bases offer family counseling. If that is not an option, then it would be best to go through a lawyer. Of course, the latter option adds expense for both of you.

      I wish you both the best.

  10. Linda says

    Can a wife in the states have access to her husband’s pay website. To look at his pay. My husband said I can only do when both of us are in the states
    Thank you

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Linda, Thank you for contacting me. I believe there is a way to access the myPay website via a password. I am unaware of any restrictions for accessing the myPay website based on the location of the individual. This sounds like something you need to address with your husband. He may be aware of something that I am not aware of. I wish you both the best.

  11. prosper says

    I have a joint account with my husband, and he’s in the us army in Iraq,can he withdraw money from the account without my consent?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Propser, yes, a joint bank account is just that – it is jointly owned by both parties. One person does not need permission from the other to legally make deposits or withdrawals. That said, it is certainly a good idea to communicate with each other about budgeting, withdrawals, spending, etc. It’s always a good idea to be on the same page financially.

  12. Sean Friend says

    I have a question I know somebody in the military that has a bank account is it true that when you leave and have a bank account do you get that frozen tell you leave the military?

  13. AS says

    Hi Ryan,

    I could use your advice please. I have been talking to this guy online since September end 2016. Yes I have made the mistake of sending him the money. He says that he is deployed in Tel Aviv, Israel and is a Sgt Major in US MC. He is leaving soon in possibly 2 weeks time. He is divorced but as his ex-wife knows his account details, his pay is not transferred there. He told me some time back that he has registered me as his wife and we should get the certificate once we are together. He now told me yesterday that he now wants me to receive a cheque for him because he is leaving soon and the Marine Corps is giving him all the token amount of money for all the years that he has spent without his family in Israel. I told him it is his money and he should receive it directly. He confirmed that he has already registered my name as the receiver and that my name is everywhere on his documents and he just wants me to have it and keep it safe for him. He said we will cash it when he is ready but it has to be received by his wife or trusted fiancee and that he had no one but me.

    • Cataleya says

      Hi, this obviously sounds like a scam. He can’t list you as a wife just like that. He’s playing you and I’m sorry. Please don’t accept any money on his behalf. He’s the only one that receives any money the army owes him.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello AS, Thank you for contacting me. This is undoubtedly a scam. I don’t have a lot of time to get into all the ways this is wrong, but I’ll focus on the big picture:

      The military requires its members to have direct deposit for all their pay. The servicemember has complete control over where they have this money deposited. No one else can change it but them. Neither his ex-wife or anyone else would be able to change it without his consent.

      Also, military members cannot just register someone as their spouse. They have to provide a legal marriage certificate and provide the military with the individual’s name, date of birth, social security number, and other information to register them in the system.

      At this point the best you can do is write this off as a lesson learned. Do not have any further communication with this person, as this does not sound truthful. And do not send any more money to this individual.

      Best wishes.

    • Army Vet says

      A. Americans spell is CHECK not CHEQUE.

      B. You can’t just enter names on a form. You have to have supporting legal documents (which he has none).

      C. Women, stop being these “other women” to dudes with exwives telling you stories about how the shrew is making his life miserable. Mostly (90% of the time) it’s a LIE because for some reason women like the idea of saving a guy from horrible women “Because I’m not like the rest of them! I’m unique!”

      It’s a play on your ego. Men know that is a way to manipulate women. STOP it. Good golly. miss Molly. Just stop it with the female competition on his say-so alone. that will solve many relationship problems right there. And then when a man is dumping YOU, he doesn’t have a fresh woman on the side treating you like a horrible person just because he told her you were.

  14. cathy says

    Hi, I have some question to ask since I meet this guy online. He was a U.S. military and he was deployed at South Africa at Pretoria. We’ve shared a lot of things already well not really personal info and we’ve been talking a lot of things already since we are starting now a relationship. He said his mission is good for 6 yrs and he was in his 3rd yr now. I’ve reading a lot of comments here asking some question that I also have in my mind. And when it comes to money he said he has no access until he get back on state. I ask why and he said some camp has different rules that’s why. Is it really true? While he hasn’t asked for money but I was afraid to be scammed. Hope I can get a reply from you. Have a nice day.

    • Cataleya says

      The camp rules wouldn’t prevent him from taking money from his account. If he’s in the US army the deployments last 6-18 months and that’s the longest usually unless you’re doing back to back ones. Even still 6 yrs is not true, for a deployment. He’s not being honest.

  15. Micah says

    My boyfriend is asking me to lend him money because his uncle is sick and needed money, is it true that they dont have access with their account, his military account is in US he is currently in Nigeria with the US Marines

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Micah, Thank you for contacting me – and sorry for the delayed response. No this is not true. The military requires members to have paychecks directly deposited into their bank accounts. This is a scam. Please do not send money to anyone overseas. You will likely never hear from them again unless it is to ask for more money.

  16. Noela says

    Is it true that I have to pay the government to get all my refund back from the usa military they are asking me to pay $9800 to get my refund back before my husband comes home is it true that I have to pay this money please help me

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Noela, Thank you for contacting me. This doesn’t make sense to me – I’ve never heard of having to pay to receive a refund. I would contact the organization through their official website and/or contact number and speak to a representative. Be sure to get all information in writing before proceeding. DFAS is the organization that handles US military pay and benefits. Here is the DFAS customer service page. I wish you the best!

  17. michele says

    My son in law is deployed. My daughter is living with me and my disabled husband. I am a nurse, I stopped working a year ago to take care of my husband who has Parkinsons with Lewy body deminta.
    We live off of my husband’s air force retirement ( 30 yrs ,e7. 1/2 going to his former spouse ) small va payment, and Social security.
    My son in law does not give his wife any money, he controls all the money and the bank account.
    Does she have right to support?

    • Chris.N says

      I was once in your daughters situation, and I was told that he did not need to give me money by his command, JAG, and family support center. Only when he became physically abusive, they made him pay for a ticket for our daughter and myself to go back home. I don’t know your daughter or your son in law, for all I know she could be a crazy spender and he is just protecting himself; Or he is a control freak/arsehat that only cares about himself? Any way you shake it, she should get a divorce and maybe next time not get hitched after knowing the guy for a few months? ( As this situation relates to many newlywed military couples, that have known each other less than a year.)

  18. Alana says

    My boyfriend & I are both joining the national guard. We were wondering if we would receive better benefits if we were married?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Alana, Thank you for contacting me. It’s possible that you both might receive some different benefits if you are married, but I wouldn’t get married simply to earn a little more money. At this point, the only difference wold be the possibility of separation pay while you are attending technical training if you do not attend technical training at the same time and location. I would speak with a recruiter to get more information about the benefits available to you, when you qualify for those benefits, and any other questions you might have.

      I’d also like to say that initial military training is very stressful, and adding a new marriage to that would make things even more stressful, particularly as neither of you would be guaranteed to see each other for the first part of your training, as you may not be in the same basic training group and you may end up going to different locations for technical training. That doesn’t make a marriage impossible, but it also doesn’t make it easier.

      Find out as much as you can first about your training, the location, duration, when you would leave, and other factors. Then talk it through with your boyfriend to decide if this is the right move, or if you would both be better off waiting a little while before getting married. I wish you the best!

  19. Julia says

    Is it true that a U.S military personnel can’t access their account or use the money/benefits going into their account until they returned to the States.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Julia, Thank you for contacting me. There is some truth to this statement, but that is not the case for everyone.

      The military requires all members to have a bank account that accepts direct deposit, and all paychecks and benefits are directly made to the bank account. Members should have access to their bank while overseas, either through a physical branch if the bank has international locations, or through other means such as Internet access, ATM cards, checks, money transfers, etc. Military members can also open a bank account in an overseas location if they feel the need to have a bank near where they are stationed (or deployed).

      All that said, some deployed or overseas locations may not have easy access to funds, so in some cases, access to cash or financial transactions may be extremely limited. So the answer to your question depends on individual circumstances.

  20. Carey says

    My husband is going into the Air Force and I want to know how much money I would get for family separation while he is in training and schooling?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Carey, Thank you for contacting me. Family separation pay is paid to the military member, not the spouse. It is given when the military members files his or her travel voucher after completing their assignment, or during the assignment if they file an accrual voucher part-way through the trip. Family Separation Pay is given out at a rate of $250 per month, prorated. So each day is worth $8.33.

      The best thing to do is to work out a plan with your husband to manage your finances while he is away. A joint bank account is probably the easiest way to do that. I wish you and your husband the best as you make this transition! 🙂

  21. crhoope says

    can soldiers located in turkey receive their pay overseas in that area. I was told that when they deployed they didn’t have access until they got back to the states.

    • Ryan Guina says

      crhoope, Everyone will receive their pay in via direct deposit into their bank account. It’s up to the military member to be able to access their pay while they are abroad. Most banks offer Internet access, checking, and/or credit or debit cards. So they should certainly have access to their funds wherever they are in the world.

  22. tina miller says

    I already sent him 1620.00 because he requested him leave from the army. so now he says he will be transferred to Syria if i do not let him deposit his leave bonus into my banking account ,not withdrawal my money.but deposit his money.Which he is in Nigeria in the army, says he will never see his kids or me for maybe a year, unless i give him permission to deposit money into my checking account ,what to do.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Tina, DO NOT under any circumstances give anyone other than a spouse your banking information. If you do, you will wake up one day and your account will be empty. You should immediately stop talking to this person, as this is a scam. Do not ask questions (they will have a response that sounds good for everything). This person’s goal is to take as much money from you and other people as he can. Stop communicating with this person and move on.

  23. Taneisha says

    my boyfriend Is telling me I need to get a bank account in order for him to recieve his leave funds is that true

    • Ryan Guina says

      Taneisha, No this is not true. You should never give anyone your bank account information unless you are married and have a joint account you both own together. It’s also important to know that leave funds are paid in the same manner as regular pay, and will be deposited with a military member’s normal paycheck.

      There is a scam going around where people gain your trust then ask for your bank account information to deposit pay or benefits. They actually take all your money and you never hear from them again. I don’t know what is the situation with your boyfriend, but there is absolutely no reason he needs your bank account information to receive any military pay or benefits.

      Do not give your bank account information to anyone.

  24. Debbie says

    Me and my husband have been married for 5 and 1/2 years we have had money issues due to his over drafting but we had PCS’ed and he opened a acct. With just his name he won’t help out with bills and food and repairs ect. But he will make sure he eats out all the time and buy stuff he wants. Is he allowed to do this? Plus when I buy food and health stuff he thinks he can have what he wants but me and my 2 kids can’t

  25. Kim says

    I really could use some advice. I am at a loss and don’t know what to do. I have been talking with this guy for about 7 months now. He is a Major in the Army and he is over in Senegal Dakar. After all this time I still have my guard up. He has requested leave and it has been approved. He even emailed me a copy of the letter.

    He has been asking me to open an IRA and checking account for him. Which I would not do. Now he has emailed me informing me that they are sending a partial payment for leave bonus and entitlement in check form to me to deposit and then western union him some of it.

    To me it don’t sound right. But my question is, Does the Army do this?

    • Ryan Guina says

      No, the Army does not do this. The Army does not have a “leave bonus” or “entitlement check.” All military pay checks are direct deposited into the service member’s bank account. The military will give him access to all of his banking needs.

      You are right to have your guard up. It should be a red flag any time anyone asks you to do any banking transactions on their behalf. This sounds like a fraudulent transaction and if you send any money, chances are high that you will never see it, or him, again.

      • Kirsty etherington says

        I’m confused in talking to the military man and he’s asked me to send my bank details to him so he can some come home and be with me is this right I just dnt want to be scammed

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Kirsty,

        Do not do it – this is absolutely a scam! 

        There is no reason anyone else ever needs your bank account number.

        Please stop all communications with this person and block their email address. Regardless of what type of relationship you think you had with this person, it was all built on their lies to get your money. I’m sorry you have to deal with this, but it’s better to hear it now, than to send money and never hear from them again (unless it was with a sob story and them asking for more money).

        Best wishes.

  26. Cherry says

    I don’t have any access or any money from my army husband. He said I better thankful I have housing and other benefits free to me and his stepsons.
    I don’t know why but saying that there’s no way to having joint account .

    • JJ says

      He’s right, you should be grateful for housing and other free benefits. It’s not like you’re working for them…

      • Serena says

        Just wondering if anyone knows of a good money transfer site/app my fiance is in the Army and is stationed in Europe he would like to send some money and we were thinking about using PayPal, Venmo or a similar app but I was wondering if anyone knows of a better money transfer site/app? Or would either of those work fine? It would be from his bank account based out of the US being transferred to my account also in the US so it is US Currency that is being transferred? Any help is appreciated

    • Ryan Guina says

      Schannel, No, the spouse does not receive financial support while the service member is in boot camp. The member will receive pay for the time he or she is in boot camp, but it is up to the servicemember to send money to the spouse. Another alternative is to have the paycheck deposited directly into a joint account where the spouse will have immediate access to it. Please keep in mind that it may be a few weeks before the first paycheck is received.

  27. Jessica Murray says

    My husband is threatening to stop sending money to the children and I because he wants a divorce… Can he do that? Please help me.

    • Ryan Guina says

      I’m sorry to hear about the troubles in your marriage and I hope you and your husband will be able to work things out, or at least find a common ground. In regard to your question, I would like to refer you to your base legal counsel. This is a legal question and I am not 100% qualified to answer it.

      • Ryan Guina says

        Lisa, Yes, soldiers can take an ATM card with them on deployment. Many deployed locations have ATM machines. They might also want to bring a check book or at least a few checks in case they don’t have access to an ATM machine.

  28. Kbean says

    The service member should receive Family Separation Pay while they are deployed. At the amount of $250 for every 30 days. Just about $8.33 a day, which you should see in the LES every month. It is Per Diem is paid to the service member in a lump sum when they return home, at a rate of $3.50 a day while overseas and $2.50 a day while deployed in the us.

  29. Green Panda says

    Congrats Trisha on your marriage! Getting your finances organized before your husband leaves for deployment will reduce stress greatly.

    We’re with ING Direct and it has worked well for us. I’ve also heard great things about USAA.

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